11 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Accra – A diversionary tactic by suspected oil thieves to evacuate petroleum products from vessels impounded by security agents for allegedly engaging in oil bunkering in Nigeria’s Niger-Delta has been blocked by the Nigerian Navy.
Some firms purportedly working for the oil bunkerers claimed they had obtained approval from Navy authorities to commence evacuation operation, along the Delta Coastal area.
Investigation showed that in carrying out the illicit deal, the bunkerers often present the approval document, supposedly from the Navy to security agents on the waterways.
However, Chief of Training and Operations, CTOPs, Naval Headquarters, Abuja, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogboi, dismissed the claim, saying, the Naval Headquarters had not given approval to any firm to commence the evacuation of petroleum products from wrecked vessels arrested by the military for illegal oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta region.
His words, “We have not issued approval to any other firm to commence the evacuation of products from and seized vessel in Niger Delta waterways and we do not intend to until the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) provided answers to very many questions we have asked them concerning this exercise.”
Rear Admiral Ogboi added, “We have been asking DPR to furnish us with detailed information as to the nature of the product in these vessels, estimated quantities, the destination of the evacuated products and hazards posed in the course of the exercise but up till now, we are yet to receive such information.”
According to him, “We cannot, therefore, issue any approval to any company when we are yet to get these details, so it will amount to fraudulent act and mischief for any firm to come up to say the Navy has given it approval to commence evacuation.”
He described such claim as false, baseless and unfounded, and advised security agents to be on their guard to ensure the arrest of any vessel seen on the waterways, claiming to be on evacuation operation based on the approval from the Naval Command